Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

Avery Associates, London, 2000


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The Malet Street facade: terracotta panels screen the flytower 

Richard Bryant/Arcaid and Mark Tupper     Download Original

  • The Malet Street facade: terracotta panels screen the flytower    
  • The entrance doors on Malet Street facade flank a cylinder of opaque glass    
  • The Malet Street entrance foyer and café    
  • The     
  • The Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre    
  • The ground floor gives the first glimpse of the full-height void between the two buildings. Malet Street is to the right, Gower Street is to the left    
  • The space between the new flytower and the rear of the existing Gower Street building has been topped by a sleek new metal vaulted roof    
  • The new 203-seat Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre can be arranged as proscenium, flat floor or in-the-round. The tension wire grid allows access to lighting    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Dress circle balustrade details    
  • Stalls balustrade details    

Redevelopment of existing cramped buildings for a prestigious drama school, with workshops, rehearsal rooms and other support facilities, with three new theatres and a public foyer/bar

RADA has occupied this east-west chunk of Bloomsbury since the 1920s. The plot is 60m long but only 15m wide, and connects RADA’s main public front, the Gower Street building (1927), to the Academy’s Malet Street block (1921).

The redevelopment is 10-storeys high, with three levels below ground and seven above. The Gower Street building was retained in order to maintain RADA’s traditional face, and converted and extended to house the main administrative and teaching spaces.

The public foyers have been used to create a link at ground level between the public entrance in Malet Street and the private academy entrance in Gower Street. The two entrances and their foyers have quite a different character and are separated by a vertical shaft of space known as the 'cleft'. This brings a glimpse of daylight deep into the building and even into the basements via a glass floor in the foyer.

The new main teaching theatre, with just over 200 seats, has been fitted into an auditorium on three levels, beginning at second floor level, in a width of only 10.5m. Glass walls with black out, hydraulic floors and multiple hinged flaps combine to make the auditorium a multi-purpose space.


  • Begun: Jul 1997
  • Completed: 2000
  • Floor area: 6,015m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Education
  • Total cost: £14.6M
  • Funding: National Lottery
  • Tender date: May 1997
  • Procurement: Traditional JCT 98 with Quantities and CDPS
  • Address: 62-64 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6ED, United Kingdom

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